Thursday, 16 April 2009

Philippine remittances grow 4.9% y-o-y

Media Releases
Bangko Sentral
January-February Remittances Reach US$2.6 Billion

Remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) coursed through banks grew year-on-year in February 2009 by 4.9 percent to US$1.3 billion. This was an improvement from the minimal increment (0.1 percent) recorded in January. The cumulative remittances in the first two months of 2009 amounted to US$2.6 billion, or an annual growth of 2.5 percent. Remittances from sea-based and land-based workers for the two-month period registered increases of 6.1 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

“Remittances have been holding up as deployment of overseas Filipino workers has risen during the first two months of the year while the increase in the number of reported layoffs has slowed down,” BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said. Preliminary data obtained from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that the total number of deployed overseas workers for the two-month period posted a year-on-year growth of 27.3 percent to 283,348 from 222,608 a year ago. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also reported that the Philippines will renew the labor arrangement with South Korea under the Employment Permit System (EPS). The EPS which is expected to be signed this May would give priority in finding employment to displaced Filipinos working in South Korea.

In addition to the hiring agreements forged with some host countries (such as Canada, Australia, Japan and some Middle East countries such as Qatar) that are expected to open employment opportunities specifically in healthcare, education, power/energy, and real estate sectors, the Philippine government has also intensified its efforts to redeploy retrenched overseas Filipino workers to countries that have not been severely affected by the global financial turmoil. Specifically, Saudi Arabia and Libya continue to hire workers in the construction and healthcare industries. Moreover, the relocation in 2010 of the U.S. Naval forces presently situated in Okinawa, Japan to Guam could provide job opportunities to Filipino workers.

Governor Tetangco further observed that commercial banks’ continued expansion of their international and domestic market coverage to capture a larger share of the global remittance market has also helped to sustain the inflow of remittances. Specifically, banks’ tie-ups with placement agencies and remittance companies abroad to market their remittance products and services to Filipino communities overseas, and the forging of agreements with more rural banks to serve as their remittance pick-up partners, have expanded the channels for remittances.

For the period January-February 2009, the major sources of remittances were the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Canada, Japan, U.K., Singapore, Italy, and United Arab Emirates.

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